Enjoy his interview then enter the Giveaway! Details at the bottom..................
Please introduce yourself. What type of craft do you specialise in?
Gelert Design, but you can call me Dave :-)
Born and raised on the edge of stunning Snowdonia, I've moved around a bit and finally settled in Bristol with my incredibly supportive and patient partner Eva.
I'm not sure I do specialise to be honest. Perhaps you could say that I'm primarily a sculptor? Certainly I don't wan't to just be known for making fridge magents!:)
I'm forever getting excited by new ideas or new applications for what I'm making. Apart from cards made from my paintings, everything else I do is resin based - for now at least!
How long have you had a shop on Folksy and what's the story behind the name of your shop?I started up on Folksy at the start of December 2009, a couple of weeks after I started putting my stuff up on ebay. So, a newbie really.
The name Gelert is somethng really important to me. It's a long story so do bear with me :-)
I grew up on the outskirts of Snowdonia in the 1970s. As a family we'd often go for Sunday drives into the mountains. This petulant child would always insist we stopped off in the lovely little village of Beddgelert (Gelert's Grave). I won't go into the legend of Gelert the faithful hound here, but as a kid it really struck a chord with me - fidelity, folklore, injustice, castles, swords, violence and giant wolves :-) Every Sunday we'd have to get out of the car and take the riverside path to Gelert's grave. There I would recount the story to everyone there and end up crying uncontollably! It's a very Romantic tale and a Romantic setting that has stayed with me all this time. I always thought that if I became self-employed I would call my company Gelert. So when I opened up my Folksy shop, Gelert was the obvious choice! I had to add "Design" as there is a company making tents and other outdoor equipment called Gelert already.
What inspires your work?
Everthing does in one way or another. Textures and the hidden colours in nature mainly. I do believe there is a massive differerence between looking and really seeing. Look long and hard at something and slowy the subtlest colours will jump out at you. I exaggerate this in my paintings but it's a little more difficult in sculpture! Therefore I try and produce items with an interesting finish or texture so the play of light will create its own colours. It's probably true to say that my heritage is a constant inspiration though.
Hot Orange Rose BroochWhat made you choose to work with resin?
I was carving one-off designs in plaster and papier mache pulp. Neither were very durable and as I was aiming at making copies, casting was the obvioius solution. I suffer from ME and was forced to give up work last year. As luck would have it, a member of my pub quiz team has some experience of working with resin. I picked his brains and realised that resin was the solution for me. I needed something I could do at home that wasn't too taxing so I began crafting and my Folksy shop is the result.
How long does it take you to produce a piece of work?
Of course, it varies. I carve my prototypes out of plaster of paris. A small intricate item can take half a day. A piece of wall sculpture can take two or three days. I then make silicone moulds of the carvings which can take up to 12 hours to cure. The resin that I cast in the finished moulds can take many hours to cure also, depending on a variety of factors. Then the casting needs hand finishing. Luckily this can simply be a quick rub down with wire wool which doesn't take to long. I should make use of the waiting time to promote, but I need to rest all the time. Poor me being forced to lie on the sofa watching tv with a cup of tea :)
You've recently started making coldcast brass earrings. Is this a different technique to how your other items are made? Are you planning to use any other metals in your earring designs?
The technique isn't different at all. Coldcasting is a method of suspeding metal powder in resin. When cured you cut back the surface resin with wire wool to reveal the metal. I currently coldcast in brass, bronze, copper and aluminium. Iron and nickel silver are available additives too. Coldcast metals can be treated just like solid metal. Over time they will oxidize, or you can chemically speed up the process. I'm coldcasting because I can't afford foundry prices just yet. I do hope to work with casting white metals later in the year though as very delicate resin is too brittle. I don't know if I'll be making lots of jewellery though. There are already more than enough talented makers around so I'll only make something if it's different from everything else I'm seeing. Luckily, most people are working with shop bought beads or embedding in commercially available moulds. As I make everything myself, it's sure to be a little different.
You've recently started supplying merchandise for the band New Model Army. How did this come about?
I've been following this band for over 20 years now so I have an idea of what their fans like. When I started making small celtic fridge magnets I had an epiphany - their album artwork is crying out to be sculpted. They don't sell fridge magnets as part of their merchandise range, so....
I emailed their friendly online shop people and told them my ideas and asked if I could prototype some designs for them. Nothing to lose as far as they were concerned so they said ok. Band saw the prototypes and placed an order and they were on sale withing 2 days of delivery! Hopefully they'll sell well and I'll be asked to make more. Ever hopeful, I prototyped another 4 designs just in case, and I've been asked to send them on too!
In some ways you could compare New Model Army to the handmade revolution - they do everything for themselves and don't have much truck with the "business". 2010 is their 30th year of not compromising. You've got to respect that.
What do you do in your spare time? (if you have any!)
Spare time? I don't have much. Actually, I don't really like it! Making things is so exciting! However, I would never miss our weekly pub quiz! We tend to win as often as not and the winnings come in handy! M.E. makes me pretty useless at getting out and about too much, so if I'm not making or promoting I'm lying on the couch watching the History channel.
Rhos Quarry Lake PostcardDo you sell anywhere else online or locally?
I tried most other online sites but without much luck. Promoting could become full-time work, so I'm just with Folksy for now. I haven't approached any "real-life" shops or galleries yet, although I've had one come to me. I do intend to get my work out there eventually because I need the security of wholesale orders. I don't have the strength to promote as much as I should and I'm certainly not proactive enough. I tend to rely on people coming to me which is far too hit and miss! However, and this may come to nothing, but there is one very well-known chain that I'm gearing up to approach within the next few days as well as 2 tourist meccas. Watch this space I guess :-)
What's your favourite curry and would you eat it for Christmas dinner if you could get away with it? (I would!)
The missus can't eat anything spicy as it gives her migraines so I can't have curry as often as I would like. If I've had a very bad or a very good day then I'm allowed a curry as a treat:-) I don't remember the name of a dish I tried at a restaurant once. Whatever it was, it was lovely! Haven't seen it before or since which is a shame. Currrently I'm a big fan of Lamb Rezala which is something I've just discovered. But really, I'm happy with a chicken madras/vindaloo/phaal, a rogan josh or a jalfreezi - as long as it's hot enough. Smoking has killed all my taste buds so it needs to be hot and very spicy if I'm to taste anything at all. Oh, and can I have an onion bahji and a naan too please? Yes, I would certainly eat it for Christmas dinner if I could. I even had a curry for breakfast once - but I wouldn't recommend that to everybody :-)
A big thank you to Dave for his interview.
And now for the Giveaway!
You could win these Coldcast Brass Earrings
To enter the Giveaway all you have to do is visit Gelert Design, browse the shop then leave a comment saying which is your favourite item and what you would like to see more of! Simples! A winner will be chosen and announced to great fanfare next Saturday 27 February.